The main reason why I got a Google Voice account is so that my wife and I could have a “home” phone number.  When we both got married we both had cell phones and hadn’t used a land line in a long time, so we decided to keep it that way.  Well, as we found out after the first few months when people wanted to get a hold of us, we didn’t have a central number that someone could call to get a hold of either of us without having to call both our cell phones.  We still didn’t want a landline and deal with the extra costs, and so when Google came out with Google Voice, I jumped at this opportunity as fast as I could.  This now gave us what I was looking for, which was a number that people could call and it would ring both of our cell phones that way we were both somewhat accessible to people by dialing one number.  The only thing I kept waiting for was an iPhone app for Google Voice, but my hopes were crushed when Apple decided to deny Google of the native app for the iphone.  Well, the wait is no longer, sort of……

Today Google came out with a workaround for Apple’s denial of a Google Voice App.  Google has always said they were going to put together a web version of Google Voice for the iPhone and today they made good on that promise.  For those of you who don’t know a whole lot about Google Voice, it is basically Google’s own online phone  system.  It isn’t like Skype in that Skype is a VOIP.  With Google Voice, you still need your own phone line, whether it be a land line or a cell phone.  When you dial someone’s number Google Voice dials your phone that you connect to Google Voice, and then it connects your phone to the number you dialed.  The only difference between this and a regular call with your cell phone or landline is that the number that you are calling from is your Google Voice phone # and not your cell or landline #.  The one nice advantage Google Voice has is that you can send SMS messages to anyone for free.  This is nice if you don’t want to spend a lot of money on text messaging.  Google Voice also has some other nice features like a neat call forwarding option.  You can set a schedule for how you want your Google Voice phone calls forwarded and to any number.  So I can set my Google Voice number to ring to my work phone while I am at work and to my cell phone after work is over.  The other nice feature is that Google Voice is able to transcribe your voicemails and send you an email with a transcription of the voicemail so that you can respond either by

I spent most of today fiddling around with the app and checking out how well it works and how similar it was to the actual Google Voice web app on my computer.   My initial thoughts on the web app is that it is very good.  It basically does everything you could do on the web app on a computer.  I was able to call and SMS very easily on the web app.  The navigation is also very easy and intuitive.    It also stays in sync with the computer web app pretty well also.

The one weird thing on the app was when I would dial someone it would ask me to dial the person, but would give a weird number that wasn’t the person that I was calling.  I would press “call” anyway and it actually went through to the person I was calling, so not that big of a deal, but just a little weird.  My other wish is that I wish there was a way to be notified you get a SMS message other than email.  I wish you could configure GV to SMS your phone number when you get an SMS on your GV #. As of right now I can only get it on email, which is I guess okay.  Overall, the app works very well.  You can add the GV site to your Home Screen so it is easier to get to the app.

As a side note, a Google Voice Chrome extension just came out as well, which is very hand to have.  The extension lets you know if you have any voicemails or SMS messages and lets you respond to them from right inside of the extention.   You can also call or SMS someone straight from the extension.  It is a pretty nifty extension to have especially if you are by your computer a lot during the day.

Overall, it is a nice app to have for the iPhone and for life in general.  So why is Google Voice so attractive?  Well, it really depends on the person and why they are using it.  For me, it gives me a central phone number for my wife and I.  I can also get FREE text messages through Google Voice, which is nice.  It is almost making me think about cutting down on my SMS costs with my iPhone plan.  And everything about Google Voice is free, outside of the international calls you make, which are at a decent price.  Unfortunately, Google Voice is an invite only app right now.  You can request to get an invite here.